Cancel Cingular By Buying A Phone And Returning It???

This is either this is an isolated incident or a reader Josh tells us a new cool way to get your Cingular service canceled: buy a new phone and return it.

Recently I purchased a new phone from Cingular because my RAZR’s screen quit working. I decided after having the phone for 2 days that I did not like it and went back to the store and returned the unit. In order to cancel the contract renewal that I had signed up for in order to get the price deal, I had to call customer service. When I was talking to him, he was willing to cancel the ENTIRE contract, even though my original had 6 months left on it. I didn’t realize what he was doing until he said something about shutting off the number, and I had to quickly stop him.

Maybe this would be a deal for people to get out of their Cingular contracts? Sign a new deal to get the new phone, return the phone, and cancel the contract. Pretty sweet huh?

For those who don’t like quoting Supreme Court opinions or moving to Cambodia, this could be an easier way to get out of contract, albeit, an unverified one. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. lpranal says:

    Moving doesn’t work anymore

  2. Michael says:

    Interesting. Since you’re signing a new contract, seems to me you’d have all the protections that come with that, including the right to completely cancel service within a reasonable amount of time.

  3. drymouth says:

    DUH –
    Everyone knows, that each individual number has its OWN contract dates. That is how you got the phone subsidy (discount) in the first place – by agreeing to a contract for that specific line, NOT the whole account. If that rep were to cancel his line with 6 mos remaining (at the request of the customer) the customer would have gotten stuck with a hefty cancellation fee for not living up to his end of the deal.

    I am always amazed. Wireless customers are so eager to commit to be a customer for a contract term, in exchange for a signifigant discount on the phone, but then they want to back out of the their end of the deal.

    If you were a cellular co and you took a $250 phone and sold it for $50 and took a $200 loss expecting to recoup your investment over the course of 24 months, secured by a contract, and then the customer decides the contract should be cancelled, wouldnt you find it fair to charge a cancellation fee?

    Broken phone? Thats what insurance and warranty services are for. (Dont be cheap – cell phone insurance is an awsome deal if you have an expensive phone.)

    TIP: Need a cheap cingular phone? Go to Walmart ot Target and buy a $20-30 CINGULAR PREPAID phone. Call cust service and give them your new sim card number (the one that came in the prepaid package.)
    Presto: Cheap new cingular phone!

    Bad service? They all suck. ANyway, you did have 30 days to try it out.

    I am a Cingular dealer for 8 years, sorry for the rant. NEXT in line, please.

  4. levenhopper says:

    ya…seems good to me. then again, i’m happy with my cell service (alltel), so no complaints here.

  5. Laenir says:

    That person just got a rep that wasn’t following policy. I work for Cingular and when you upgrade, sign a new contract, then return the new phone to cancel your new contract, the rep is supposed to reset you to the remainder of your original contract.

  6. Michael says:

    But how does that work, Laenir? The customer’s new contract supplants the old one, starting from scratch with a new 1 or 2 year commitment. For all intents and purposes, it seems it would be the same as being a new customer.

    In effect, it sounds like you’re saying that the customer is bound by two contracts. I am not a lawyer, so please forgive me if I fail to see how that holds any legal water. Does Cingular have some language in the new contract to support such a policy?

    Few customers really understand cell phone contracts, so it would be great if you could explain the policy in more detail.

  7. Michael says:

    I am always amazed. Wireless customers are so eager to commit to be a customer for a contract term, in exchange for a signifigant discount on the phone, but then they want to back out of the their end of the deal.

    Most wireless customers would be happy to stick with their contract all the way to the end if their cellphone service didn’t SUCK. Do you really think everyone is just fickle and wants to break their contract for no good reason?

    I was happy to be a Cingular customer for two months, before it became almost impossible to make or receive calls. If companies would stand by their services and support their products better rather than telling people “Sorry, but we do not guarantee the quality of our service,” then maybe they’d retain customers better and wouldn’t have people looking for any little loophole to escape the cellular hell they’re stuck in.

  8. SexCpotatoes says:

    Michael, if I’ve read previous stories correctly, you are paying for a service. If they do not deign to grace you with that service you have paid for, you have every right to cancel with no ETF, and go find a phone service that does work. If you can show you’ve got no reception, or it just plain doesn’t work at all when and where it should be reasonably be expected to, say, in your home, you’re free!

  9. Calliope says:

    “Do you really think everyone is just fickle and wants to break their contract for no good reason?”

    Well, speaking as an employee of a wireless company (not Cingular), no I don’t think that *everyone* is fickle…but trust me, some *are* just fickle. Luckily they seem to be the exception and not the rule. I certainly don’t believe your situation to be fickleness but unfortunately, there isn’t a company out there that has perfect service or that can promise service in all buildings (and it’s written into most contracts that they do *not* promise service in buildings so unfortunately SexCpotatoes is wrong about being able to cancel if you don’t get service at home…but on the bright side you should be able to figure that out within the return period given by most carriers). It’s the nature of the beast, I’m afraid…an unfortunate quirk of the technology.

    If you assume that you are always going to get perfect service everywhere no matter what, then you are bound to wind up searching aimlessly and in vain for a company that will never meet your expectations (at least until satellite phones become less expensive and more commonplace). My strongest recommendation is that you at least give your carrier the chance to *try* to fix it. If you’ve gone through the troubleshooting, tried a different phone, and the company says the network shows “fine on our end”, or if the company shows no interest in looking into it (alas there are bad reps in every company) then maybe give up.

    Another benefit of letting the carrier look into the problem is that some carriers *may*…*occasionally* let you out of your contract without the ETF if they check your area and find that there is only marginal coverage (you may not get out based on coverage *in* the home, but possibly *around* the home). This is not a guarantee by any means (because their tests may legitimately show no problems in the area), but it *is* worth a shot.

    And pertaining to the contract question Michael, generally with most carriers with which I am familiar, if you extend your contract by upgrading your phone or by changing your price plan while you were still under another contract, it is not 2 overlapping contracts, it is an alteration and extension of the original contract. If you want to rescind the changes you made to your original contract, most wireless carriers have a grace period in which to make that decision, which doesn’t void the contract as a whole, it merely brings the contract back to the state it was in before the recent changes were made (although some very nice and/or uninformed reps may let you out of it entirely depending on the situation…again, no promise, but usually worth a shot).

    Hope that explained at least a little bit. I had no idea how my cellular contract worked until I started working for them, so I know what you mean about contract confusion.